In partnership with ProInfinity Coaching and Tiptoes & Tappers, we have been addressing the urgent need for genuine inclusive activities, delivering weekly sports and dance sessions for disabled children and their families. These sessions are a welcoming and inclusive space, providing specialist equipment and support for disabled children to be active.
Sport and physical activity bring people together and no-one should be excluded from taking part. Disabled people are half as likely to participate in sport and physical activity compared to their non-disabled peers, primarily due to a lack of opportunity, inclusivity and accessibility. Covid-19 meant many of these families needed to shield and had little or no space or equipment to be physically active. This drastically affected many disabled children's physical and emotional wellbeing and further isolated them and their families from opportunities that previously existed.
"I love that this is something all three of my girls can do together. We work hard to make sure Blythe doesn't miss out but these sessions are lovely because it's for Blythe but the other two are included. My niece also comes along who is the same age as Blythe. Thank you so much for these. It's so good for Blythe to see other children like her, with the same equipment as her and for activities to be inclusive so she can be fully involved and achieve" Laura - parent
THE IMPACT OF THE SESSIONS
We have been delivering these sessions since May 2021. They were created for children with complex needs and disabilities and long-term health conditions. Currently similar activities are limited and for the younger children, non-existent with many activities for ages 4 and up.
We listened to parent feedback on their previous experiences at other sessions which didn't cater for their child's needs, didn't include siblings or the coaches/volunteers lacked knowledge and expertise in coaching disabled children.
Our sessions include dance and multi-sports and provide a welcoming and inclusive space for the children to be active and try out new activities. The coaches cater for all the needs of the group including sensory and movement games which help develop mobility and confidence. The sessions also provide a space for families to meet one another
and encourage everyone to join in.
"We have LOVED these sessions! It's so lovely to find somewhere that is absolutely open to all needs and allows my child to be completely themselves. The volunteers and sports staff are so kind and patient and they engage at the individual level of all the children who attend. It's also such a fantastic way to meet other families with wide ranging needs and has given me a community of shared experience I would never have found otherwise" Rebecca - parent.
WHAT WE NEED TO CONTINUE
Up until now, we have funded these sessions with the help of ACCESS SPORT. Now we need to maintain this valuable and much needed support network. The money we are asking for will cover the cost of the venue, some equipment, the coaching staff and a session manager for a whole academic year!!
Any donation we receive will make a difference to the delivery and sustainability of these sessions and we would love to be able to re-start these much needed activities in September 2021.
Disabled children should have the same right to be active and enjoy the benefits of sport, physical activity and peer interation but entrenched social barriers prevent them from doing so. We would really appreciate your support in funding us for the next year to help give the children the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers.
The Bridge Team
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